Green Your K-Cup

Single cup coffee makers are everywhere right now. They are easy and convenient, perfect for single people or solo coffee drinkers in a home. But, their popularity is causing some big problems – namely lots of landfill waste.

Check out this CNBC story, "Spent Keurig K-Cups Filling up Landfills" for more on the problem.

As the video demonstrates, the problem with single use coffee pods is that they are filling up the landfills fast – and they are not recyclable. Sure, the individuals components of the pod are recyclable (plastic, paper and aluminum), but as soon as those components are combined into one unit, it's a recycling nightmare. Coffee pod landfill waste is become such a big issue, that manufacturers of these single-use systems are looking for solutions.

Luckily, there is an simple solution to this problem that exists right now – the reusable coffee pod filter.

I do own a Keurig machine. Most mornings, I am the only coffee drinker in the house. Making a pot of coffee so I can have one cup just didn't make sense. I found myself dumping out many half-full pots of coffee at the end of the day. So for Christmas a couple years ago, my husband bought me the Keurig.

But (and this is a big but), I do not use the disposable K-cups. Instead, I use the reusable container and filter that came with my unit. Many coffee pod systems come with both the holder for the disposable pods and a reusable cartridge and coffee filters to use with your own grounds. If your maker did not come with the reusable cartridge and filter, they are inexpensive and available to purchase separately online, or at lots of retail locations.


My Keurig came with the grey reusable container in the picture and one reusable filter. I bought a couple more of the reusable filters (they come in a two-pack) at Bed, Bath and Beyond. That way, if we want to brew a few cups in the morning, we aren't washing out filters in between each cup. And by brewing my own grounds, I can create my own custom blends – half decaf and half regular, or half french roast and half morning blend (a little bolder but not quite so dark). All at a fraction of the cost of disposable K-cups.

The reusable filters combine the convenience of the K-cups, at a fraction of the price with none of the waste.

We don't have to wait for manufacturers to find a better solution. It may be years if at all. Your single-cup coffee maker can be convenient, cost-effective and green right now. What are you waiting for?

Learn more about Allison. You can find her on twitter ocgreenmama.

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